Everton: Toni Duggan says it's "time to step up" to Champions League challenge

Toni Duggan

Everton are looking to close the gap between themselves and the top three in this year's Women's Super League after making some big moves in the summer transfer window.

Willie Kirk has welcomed a handful of new signings over the threshold, including Leonie Maier from Arsenal and the WSL's first ever Italian player, Aurora Galli.

But arguably their biggest coup of the summer has been Lioness Toni Duggan.

The forward has returned to her roots after spending four years in Spain – rejoining her girlhood club where her career first started.

Duggan's first match for Everton will be against Manchester City at Goodison Park. The headline clash will be the perfect opportunity to make a statement during her returning WSL season.

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Returning to her roots

"It's been a long time," Duggan said of her return to Everton. "I couldn't be happier with how it's turned out because Everton gave me that platform when I was younger. To come back now and hopefully pay them back, I'm delighted."

Duggan enjoyed six years with the Everton senior team before Manchester City snapped her up in 2013. During her time with the Sky Blues, she enjoyed success in the League Cup and FA Cup, as well as helping her side win the WSL title in 2016. 

Like several of her England teammates before her, the striker opted for a move back to her home nation to retake up the challenge of WSL football. Duggan joins Izzy Christiansen at Everton and follows the likes of Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris who also chose to return from abroad. 

Champions League dream

Everton finished fifth last season and at one point had their sights set on closing in on the top four. This term, with the signings they've brought in, it's all systems go for reaching the next rung on the ladder.

Toni Duggan

Duggan admits the entire team is gunning for a spot in the Champions League, and as a player who has recently enjoyed European action with both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, she is passionate about helping the Blues achieve this.

"We do have the quality, it's time to step up now," Duggan said of her new team.

Everton transfer business

Willie Kirk has wasted no time in bringing new players to the club this summer. Duggan is just one of eight players so far who have signed for the Merseyside outfit.

The Blues welcomed Swedish duo Anna Anvegård and Natalie Björn over the threshold after winning silver at the Tokyo Olympics. Joining them in blue include former Arsenal defender Maier and Italy's Galli, who has signed from Juventus.

These new additions on top of an already strong squad certainly make the Toffees one of the most exciting teams to watch this season. Their closest rivals, Manchester United, have lost key components of their team, including star striker Lauren James and head coach Casey Stoney.  

Everton and Willie Kirk

Two major factors that made the Reds a success in the Championship have now left the club. Now is the time for Everton to strike and establish themselves as top four material and even contenders for a spot in the Champions League.

Everton's first fixture of the 2021/22 WSL season will take place against Manchester City at Goodison Park on Saturday, September 4th at 13:30 BST. Find out everything you need to know ahead of the new season with our Everton season preview.

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